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Canada Eases Work Permit Exemptions for US H-1B Visa Holders


Canada Eases Work Permit Exemptions for US H-1B Visa Holders. Canada has adjusted its work permit policies for certain H-1B visa holders from the United States. This decision follows the rapid attainment of the application cap, highlighting the high demand for skilled workers in the country.

Application Cap Reached Early

Originally slated to extend until July 15, 2024. The exemption policy was halted on July 17, 2023, after the 10,000 principal applicant limit was reached. The policy aimed to simplify the entry of skilled workers into Canada but had to be adjusted due to overwhelming interest. H-1B visa holders needed to meet specific criteria, including possessing a valid H-1B Specialty Occupations visa, residing in the United States, and securing a job offer from a Canadian employer meeting stipulated standards.

Supportive Policies for Exceeding Applications

In response to the early cap, Canada introduced two supportive policies last year to assist those affected:

  • Policy on Excess Applications: Implemented on September 27, 2023, this policy allows consideration of applications exceeding the 10,000 cap if submitted after July 17, 2023. But before the online portal’s closure. This move ensures that qualified applicants still have a chance despite the cap being reached.
  • Family Member Applications: Additionally, applications from family members seeking work permits after the initial policy’s expiry and before September 28, 2024. It will be processed under this new framework. Moreover, children under 17 of H-1B visa holders will be exempt from the $150 study permit processing fee if they obtain an H-1B open work permit upon entry into Canada.

Streamlined Renewal Procedures

In a further supportive measure, a policy announced on December 16, 2023, aims to streamline the renewal procedures for work permits. This policy, effective until December 16, 2026, allows foreign nationals in Canada who initially received work permits for less than three years to renew them more easily, ensuring they benefit from the full three-year maximum. This initiative emphasizes continuity and support for skilled foreign workers, bolstering Canada’s commitment to attracting and retaining talent.

These policy adjustments reflect Canada’s proactive approach to managing immigration and supporting skilled workers, ensuring that the country remains an attractive destination for top talent from around the world.

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